Nail fungus, or Onychomycosis, is a infectious condition caused by the presence of fungal agents living in and underneath a nail bed. The fungus (a dermatophyte) houses itself within the nail bed making it difficult to reach and therefore difficult to kill. The cool and protected area underneath a nail provides the perfect growing condition for dermatophytes. Often these fingernails fungus infections begin as a skin fungus and spread to the nail through a crack or injury to the nail or nail bed. Once the fungus has found it’s way into the nail bed, the fungal agents begin attacking the nail itself. The fungus starts by attacking the nail and causing the nail plate to turn yellow, cloudy or dark-colored as it dies. If the fungus is not attacked quickly, the fungus will multiply as the condition worsens and will cause the heavily affected nails to either thicken or become brittle and crumble apart.
Once affected, nails must be treated for a substantial period of time before all of the fungus has been eliminated. The suggested treatment time to kill all of the fungus once the nails have been affected is a minimum of 6 months. This time frame changes from infection to infection and mostly depends on the severity of the infection when treatment begins. If an infection has been present for awhile, it is suggested to consult a podiatrist or medical professional in order to assess the proper treatment types.